Architecture & Design - Hot Springs Road
By Grant Johnson
Home Designer: Kent Ericksen
Log Craftsmen: Thomas Wood Handcrafted Log Homes, Inc. & Log Weavers
Photography: Tom Wood & Robert Gould
Building this unusual 1,900-square-foot aspen log cabin was a collaborative effort that reflects how great things get done in small-town Steamboat Springs. Homeowner and local cycling legend Kent Ericksen (the founder of Moots who now builds custom bikes as Kent Eriksen Cycles) designed the house himself. He traded bicycles and bike repair work for much of the efforts of the talented craftsmen who helped him build it.
The distinctive, full-round log work includes an unusual roof shape and curved roof rafter system that makes way for a spacious upstairs loft. Atop the main staircase, the dormer bedroom and balcony offer a spectacular open area with views toward Rocky Peak.
An aspen log structure is unusual. This one was being pre-stacked along U.S. 40 when Ericksen arrived with his hand-drawn sketches on graph paper to complete the design. He called it his Hershey kiss house. The aspens came from North Routt County. Different than pine, aspens have to be peeled two to three times and a 16” log ends up being only 12” in diameter because so much of the goopy cambrian layer comes off the outside. They’re easy to notch because they’re so soft – but aspens also shrink a lot. The home is stacked in the Swedish cope style. Shrink-to-fit notching and slip-jointed walls and stairways let the home settle tight, but it took nearly five years to cure. Then the logs were chinked with a modern acrylic chinking product.
Since the home site had no access to utilities, it is powered by a photovoltaic system, heated by a wood stove and receives water from a nearby stream. The front yard features a cable glider – a bicycle connected to a long cable that runs parallel to the driveway, one of Ericksen’s bicycle-powered inventions that is used for gondola car rescues.
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